Note: The following giveaway is open to Canadians only.
I know, I sound like a broken record. “Protect your identity!” I’ll say. “Shred those documents!” But can you believe that a sizeable percentage of Canadians – perhaps including ones reading my post at this very moment – are still guilty of:
1) Carrying their SIN or birth certificate in their wallet
2) Throwing bills in the trash (or worse, the recycling bin!)
3) Using their birthdate or 1234 as their PIN
Ugh! Stop! These are all paths to the dark side – identity theft. Identity theft is the most serious, non-violent crime and fastest growing type of fraud in North America.
But fear not, friends! There are ways to protect yourself. Courtesy of my friends at Fellowes Canada – pioneers in creating innovative products with superior design, performance and durability – here are 10 Tips for Preventing Identity Theft.
SHRED IT. Anything with your name and address on it, such as: monthly credit card statements, employment pay stubs, personal income tax reports (older than 6 years), monthly utility bills, spam mail and membership notices. Shredding documents is one of the most effective ways to protect yourself from identity theft and fraud. Check out two of Fellowes’ most popular models: the Powershred 8C -8 Sheet Cross Cut Shredder or Powershred W10C 10-Sheet Cross-Cut Shredder.
GO PAPERLESS. Most companies and service providers offer customers the option of digital billing. Not having bills sent to homes eliminates excess paper, and lessens the chance someone else will pick up or intercept your mail.
KNOW YOUR MAIL CYCLE. Make sure you are aware of when you are scheduled to get your mail. If you notice that you have stopped receiving certain bills, follow up with the provider as someone may have changed the address for it.
PROTECT YOUR PIN. When using your debit or credit card, ensure you are keeping your PIN a secret. Be aware of your surroundings and make sure no one is sneaking a peak at your digits.
DOUBLE CHECK STATEMENTS. It’s easy to forget to check your statements when you get e-billing. Ensure you regularly keep track of account activities so you are not left with unwanted charges you never made.
USE A CREATIVE PASSWORD. Although it may be convenient to use a password that is easy to remember, it may not be the most secure choice. Select a password that no one would be able to guess, and stay away from obvious choices such as, ‘1234’.
ALWAYS LOG OUT. When you are doing any type of banking online, ensure you log out of the computer you are using especially when you are at the office, or on a shared computer.
SECURE YOUR HOME MAILBOX. If possible, we recommend investing in a mailbox that only you can access. With many Canadians still opting for paper billing, mail theft is an easy way for identity thieves to obtain your personal information.
PROTECT PERSONAL INFO. Always be careful who you are giving your personal information to, and never carry your Birth Certificate or SIN card on you unless absolutely required.
KNOW WHO TO CALL. Suspect you have fallen victim to fraud? Call your bank and have them cancel your cards and re-issue new ones so you are not held liable for any losses. Then, contact your local police departmentto file a report, and Canada’s main credit agencies.
Want to learn more about how you can protect yourself and your loved ones? Join the #FellowesProtects Twitter Party on Wednesday, March 7th at 12:00pm EST. Simply follow @FellowesCanada for useful tips on how you can take steps to prevent identity theft. As always, there will be some amazing prizes up for grabs!
Now, since I am a passionate about helping my followers protect themselves from identity theft, Fellowes Canada has offered a Powershred 79Ci Cross-Cut Shredder to one lucky reader!
The best choice for any small or home office – the Fellowes Powershred 79Ci Cross-Cut Shredder can shred up to 16 sheets of paper per pass and also safely shreds CDs, DVDs, credit cards, staples, paper clips and junk mail. The 100% Jam Proof System eliminates paper jams, powering through tough jobs. With the ability to shred for up to 20 minutes before a cool down period is needed, the 79Ci is ideal for deskside use and includes a 6-gallon pull-out bin.
The value of this shredder is $365! Quite simply, it’s perfect for a home office or a small business, and makes the perfect gift for an entrepreneur you may know. To enter the giveaway, simply fill the form below with your qualifying entries.
Hope to see you at the Twitter Party! Mark your calendars for #FellowesProtects and see you on Wednesday afternoon.
This post is sponsored by Fellowes Canada. The opinions on this blog, as always, are my own.